Lucy's Reviews > Eon

Eon by Alison Goodman
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May 11, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, young-adult
Read in May, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I think a copy of Eon ought to be on most school library bookshelves. It's an interesting exploration of gender roles and expectations, about finding your true self and that ineffable identity all of us have somewhere beneath the surface. Gender and identity are explored from different angles with the main story and one intertwining side character. Eon deals with the pressure of pretending to be something he isn't, of all the things he gave up when the choice to pretend to be a boy was made for him. The secondary character of Lady Dela, who is considered dual gendered with born male with female energies, deals with the public side and some of the possible social consequences of different gender identity. Neither of them chose their paths. Lady Dela was simply born the way she is and Eon was forced into the subterfuge.

It's definitely a high fantasy novel with a lot of world building. Fans of various Asian cultures will either be delighted with Alison Goodman's world or find flaws in it that come from a passionate love affair with the cultures she tries to emulate. For me she was a success, but my knowledge of Asian culture is probably heavily pop-culture influenced so take my opinion there with a grain of salt. You can trust me that the world building is thorough. There are long information dumps in places, but it's not so bad because it's all pretty interesting. Yeah, as a reader you're forced to swallow some of the world building in weird places with thick content, but it's never really that painful.

My only complaints about the story are how long I knew what was going on as opposed to how long it took Eon to figure out what was going on. It's pretty frustrating to know all the answers and to want to shake them into the character. You might be saying 'oh you're saying you're too smart for this. You probably figure out complicated mystery novels on page five.' No, seriously. I don't. Most of the time I don't try. I just roll with the story. The answers to everything Eon is asking and how many mistakes he's making are really really obvious.

There's also Disappearing Parent Syndrome in this novel, but it's one of those cases where it works. Eon's journey needed to be solo so I won't complain. I'm hopeful Eona will learn more about her family in the companion novel.

The prose is clean. The pages to this admittedly thick book felt mostly like world building and then those long pages of wanting to strangle Eon for not getting to the obvious answers faster. I really recommend it for high school aged teenagers. I think it's one of those books that will make you a better person if you read it young enough. There's nothing like spending five hundred pages in the head of a character having heavy gender confusion to make you more understanding and, of course, the fantasy adventure makes it just a fun read.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim Another excellent review! Very interested in seeing how the sample hits me.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I have this one on my "to-read" list. After I finish off "Daughter of Smoke and Bones" I'll have to pull this one out.


Lisa Great review, Lucy. I agree 100% with everything you wrote, both the positives and negatives. :)


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